Times are changing and so is the Insurance Industry: Learn How to Be One Step Ahead of the Game
Times have changed. Modern medicine can work miracles, so learn how to protect yourself and get the best health insurance possible, so when you need the miracles of modern medicine, you’ll be able to get it.
Once upon a time, when people needed medical attention, they paid the doctor directly for his or her professional advice. But times have changed. Modern medicine can work miracles our grandparents and great-grandparents never dreamed of - but at a staggering price. Nowadays, most people rely on a third party - either a private insurer, or a public governmental entity - to help them finance the cost of their medical needs.
Now things have changed as we enter 2007. To help you get started on the right foot below is seven ways to save you thousands on your health insurance and get the best heath and medical care possible.
- Switch funds: There are huge deals out there and don't be afraid of switching funds. If you change funds and you have similar level of cover, you will not have to wait before you can claim. Often people are afraid to switch funds because they believe one of the many health insurance myths that they’ll have to go through a new waiting period. But legislation governing health funds guarantees that if you switch to another fund with the same level of cover, you will get continuity of cover. Don't set and forget your policy ... make sure the premium is still competitive.
- Review your extras: Many consumers decide on hospital cover as well as ancillary cover for dentistry, physiotherapy, optical requirements and others. There is a wide variation between funds on what you'll get back so make sure that your cover is competitive. Price of the policy must we weighed up with what you'll get back in real terms. Beware - Policies vary widely on rebates. For example some policies apply limits on a per person basis, or per policy basis, some apply per visit, or have annual limits or combinations of "limitations". This wide difference makes comparing extras almost impossible for the average consumer.
- Tailor your policy: You need to work out what "life stage" you're at. According to leading health insurance broker, ISelect, there are five broad life stages. “In over five years of operation we have seen tens of thousands of policy mismatches. If you're single you may not need hip replacement and if you're empty-nesters you won’t require birth cover." "Or for families with dependent children in their 20s, look for cover that includes your children up to the age of 25, rather than the standard 21." "Once you’ve finished your family remove the obstetrics cover, if your 40 plus then major dental is probably on the cards.” In short, you should look at your situation, your family history and tune your policy accordingly.
- Part-pay the hospital bill: By agreeing to pay a higher excess - up to the first $500 of a hospital bill if you're single, $1000 if you're a family - you can cut your premium cost. Or you can pay less by agreeing to a daily "co-payment" - a set amount per night for each night you're in hospital - for example, $50 for five nights. Funds use either or both. Choose a fund that doesn't charge a co-payment on day surgery since it could save you money in the long run.
- Mix, Match & Review: You don't need to have both hospital and extras cover with the same insurer. Often you can get a better deal on ancillaries with a different provider. With premiums rising at up to 3 times the rate of inflation it’s vital to review whether you policy is competitive in the market. Make sure that your orthodontics cover is giving you the maximum back. Choosing the right extras cover can make a huge difference in your out-of-pocket expenses.
- Don't Pay the Taxman: Beware! If you’re moving up the income scale, you could be paying an extra 1% in tax through the Medicare Levy Surcharge if you don't have private health insurance. For example ... if you're single earning $50,000 a year or above, or a family earning $100,000 or more, you are exposed to an EXTRA 1 per cent Medicare Levy Surcharge ... in addition to the 1.5 per cent Medicare Levy that you're already paying.
- Use a broker: Using a broker helps take the mystery of Private Health Insurance. Companies like iSelect.com.au compare over 2,000 policy combinations and match or better the best price offered by the fund themselves. Plus, by using a broker, you’re getting choices and comparisons on what’s available for your individual circumstances. A good broker you can often cut policy costs by up to 30% and help you find the best rebates on offer. Using a broker usually you nothing because they are paid a fee by the funds – which are essentially standard across the industry.
Remember as time changes, so does your health. So take good care of your health. Taking good care of your health now minimizes the risk of serious and costly medical problems in the future. According to the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, and American Heart Association, doing these four things will reduce your risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke:
- Eat right
- Get active
- Don’t smoke
- See your doctor